Eight-run second inning carries Vikings past IKM-M

 MANILLA (June 24) -- An eight-run second inning springboarded the AHSTW baseball team past IKM-Manning 12-7 Thursday night as both squads finished Western Iowa Conference play.
 The Wolves answered AHSTW’s initial outburst with four runs in the bottom of the second but the Vikings countered with three in the third and were able to hold on after IKM-Manning put together a three-run rally in the fourth.
 The Vikings improved to 5-11 in the WIC (and overall), clinching the seventh-place seed for this week’s WIC Baseball Tournament. The Wolves dropped to 4-16 overall and 3-13 in the WIC and will be the No. 8 seed.
 “We were faced with some adversity in the middle of the game as IKM-Manning started to put together a comeback, but we were able to play through it with resilience and hold them off,” said AHSTW coach Jason Holst.
 “It was nice that we got out early and got on the board. I think that allowed us to have a little bit of breathing room and we worked through some control issues.
 “We did a really good job of putting the ball in play and took advantage of some walks. All starters contributed to the offense by getting on base.”
 Blake Holst was the winning pitcher for AHSTW and also had a big night at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two singles, a double and a triple. He scored two runs and had three RBI.
 Jace Peterson and Jacob Coon both went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the Vikings, Brayden Lund had a single and two RBI and Nick Denning (2 runs), David Johnson and Caleb Hatch all singled as well. Jordan Ratzlaff did not have a hit but drew three walks,
 Coach Holst felt like the Vikings took a lot of good swings during their eight-run second inning, even though just two of the eight runs charged to Wolves’ starter Treyton Barry were earned.
 “We were putting the ball in play, forcing them to play a little bit of defense, but we were hitting the ball well,” he said.
 “Blake just missed a home run. We were barreling things up so that was good to see. We haven’t been scoring a lot of runs lately, seeing some better-than-average pitching. That’s what’s great in our conference. You’ve got good pitching and this was a good game for us to get some things (going).”
 Blake Holst (3-2) pitched the first six innings for the win, surrendering seven hits and seven runs (four earned). He overcame seven walks by striking out nine. Jacob Coon worked around a walk and an error to pitch a scoreless seventh inning.
 “I thought Blake did a good job of gutting it out in inning five and inning six, and then Jacob Coon came in and did a good job of closing it out,” Coach Holst added.
 Cooper Perdew’s two-run single pulled the Wolves within 11-7 in the fourth, but that was as close as they would get.
 Hayden McLaughlin had a big night for IKM-M, going 3-for-4 with his third home run of the year, two runs and two RBI. Brody Blom singled and also had two RBI while Amos Rasmussen and Bryc Summerfeld added one hit each.
 Lane Sams pitched four and one-third innings in relief of Barry, allowing seven hits and four runs. He walked two and struck out three. Conner Richards got the last three outs after replacing Sams in the seventh.
WIC Tourney:
 IKM-Manning faced Riverside in the first round of the WIC Tournament Monday at Tri-Center, with the winner set to play the top-seeded Trojans. AHSTW played at No. 2 seed Underwood Monday night.
 Wednesday’s semifinals and Friday’s consolation and championship games will all be held in Underwood.
 Coach Holst was pleased to take some momentum into WIC Week and hopeful that his team could play one of its best games on Monday.
 “That’s the thing about baseball - you always have a chance. As soon as you step on the field everybody has a chance,” Holst said.
 “We’ve got to take care of the little things. We’ve got to throw strikes, we’ve got to make the routine plays and we’ve got to put the ball in play... and let the baseball gods take care of the rest.”

Western Iowa Conf. Baseball Tournament
First Round Game - Monday, June 28
#8 seed IKM-Manning vs. #9 seed Riverside (at Tri-Center), 5:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals - Monday, June 28
#8 IKM-Manning or #9 Riverside at #1 Tri-Center, following first round game
#4 Logan-Magnolia vs. #5 Missouri Valley (at Underwood), 5:30 p.m.
#2 Underwood vs. #7 AHSTW (at Underwood), following Lo-Ma/Mo. Valley
#3 Treynor vs. #6 Audubon (at Treynor), 7:00 p.m.
Semifinals - Wednesday, June 30 (at Underwood)
Top bracket winners play at 5:30 p.m., followed by bottom bracket semifinal
Finals - Friday, July 2 (at Underwood)
Consolation game at 5:30 p.m., followed by Championship game

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